Archive by Author | Minkette

Not Big Ben!

Not Big Ben! by Webminkette
Not Big Ben!, a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

Big Ben is the nick-name given to the great bell of the clock at the north end of Westminster Palace, in London. By extension, the whole clock tower has been referred to by the same name. However, as the English Queen is celebrating 60 years of reigning – the name of this tower is to be changed to Elizabeth Tower.

Despite being such a famous landmark, this tower is not open to tourists from over-seas. As the Palace of Westminster houses our parliament, this tower is only open to United Kingdom residents (and then only via the resident’s MP).

I had been up in London on a gloomy, grey day, but as I crossed Westminster bridge the sun came out for a brief moment. It lit up these well known tourist attractions, which called out to be photographed. Sometimes I forget how lovely these buildings, and in particularly this Tower in its Gothic Revival style, are.

Continental Divide, Milner pass.

Colorado, in the USA, is one of our favourite places. We have enjoyed spending many Autumns (or, as the American’s say, “Fall”) there. This view was taken when we drove up to Milner’s pass, at an elevation of 10,759 feet.

The Continental Divide stretches from Alaska to (almost) the Cape Horn. It is fascinating because the water on one side flows into the Atlantic Ocean; on the other side it flows into the Pacific Ocean.

If only I could remember in which direction I was facing when I took this shot! There is nothing for it… I shall have to go back.

The Lion of Belfort, Paris.

This majestic statue can be found at Place Denfert-Rochereau, previously known as Place d’Enfer, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, France, in the Montparnasse district. Many roads meet at this place.

The Lion is cast in bronze and it is a one-third-scale replica of the Lion of Belfort statue by Bartholdi, which is made from red sandstone and remains in Belfort below its castle. Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi was a French Sculptor (1834-1904] who also created the famous Statue of Liberty in New York.

The lion symbolizes the heroic French resistance during the Siege of Belfort, a 103 days long Prussian assault (from December 1870 to February 1871). The city was protected from 40,000 Prussians by merely 17,000 men (only 3,500 were from the military) led by Colonel Denfert-Rochereau.

This impressive statue is surrounded by traffic… I have yet to find out the significance of the arrow (being an archer, I notice such items.)

St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev is a fascinating European city and I would recommend anyone to plan a weekend stay there.

The tower in the foreground is the St Michael’s Monastery‘s bell tower. Beyond it lies the enormous Cathedral church which is open for visitors to look around, or to light a candle in, and it is part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

It is a working monastery that dates back to the 12th Century but which was destroyed during the Soviet era. Surprisingly, it was rebuilt in 1997-98 after Ukraine regained its independence in 1991! You can read more about its history on Wikipedia or elsewhere.

It lies to one end of a wide open space (used as a parade ground in the Soviet era) and is faced, on the opposite side of the square, by the equally imposing but beautiful buildings of Saint Sophia’s Cathedral (now a museum.)

I love the clouds in this photo and the fact that it feels so different to anything you see in England.


London by Webminkette
London, a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

I love the effect of these flags in Old Bond Street (one of the more exclusive shopping streets) in London.

They make a change from the bunting that went up in so many places to celebrate the 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Somehow, even the grey sky seems to add to the atmosphere in this photo!

Royal Topiary

Royal Topiary by Webminkette
Royal Topiary, a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

In England and the Commonwealth, everyone is celebrating our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It is a great time to be in London and, even if you missed the the main weekend of celebrations, there are still plenty of interesting extra touches to see that make me smile.

This photo is but one example. It is in St James’ Park, just off The Mall (that leads to Buckingham Palace); I thought it was wonderful and hope you enjoy looking at it too.

There were so many fish!

There were so many fish. by Webminkette
There were so many fish., a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

This is just a few of the many fish in the pond at Hillier’s Gardens.

It was such a very bright day that I could not see the image on the view finder. However, the shot was worth the risk because there were so many fish that I could not work out how I could fail to capture some of them on the photo.

Usually, I find fish hard to take photos of. By the time the shutter has responded to being pressed the fish have moved and ruined a well set up picture. This one was not well set up, I blindly held the camera high above the water and pressed the button (unable to see anything.)

My instincts were correct! When the photos were transferred to the computer, there were the shoals of fish. I hope you enjoy this image; better still, go and see them for yourself.

I’m thinking Monet…

I'm thinking Monet... by Webminkette
I’m thinking Monet…, a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

This beautiful pond is part of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens near Romsey. Best known for its arboretum, it has many interesting nooks and spaces.

The pond is home to a vast number of orange/brown fish, ranging in size from small to massive. They can be coaxed out, from under the lilly-pads, with bread crumbs. Groups of excited children stare with fascination at the teeming hoards.

There is a spacious cafe in the relatively modern buildings which offers welcome refreshment after a stroll around the grounds.

Currently, the grounds are show-casing a varied collection of sculptures which add to the enjoyment of a visit.

What would you protect?

What would you protect? by Webminkette
What would you protect?, a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

These fortified walls in Venice form part of the defence of the old Arsenal, where the shipyards and armouries were located. In those days its power and wealth came from its ships and its ability to control trade in the Mediterranean as well as the trading routes to the East.

Having wandered round most of Venice, where being islands seemed to be protection enough, it was surprising to come across such solid defences. It was even more mind-blowing to realise they enclosed an old harbour…

The wall really made me think about Venice’s history and what was important to its people.

Pool of water

Pool of water by Webminkette
Pool of water, a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

Surprisingly, when the weather turns hot, we long for shade and water. Many of our favourite sites include water in one form or another. It was a pleasure to discover this public oasis of peace and calm in Malaga’s city centre.

In climbing the hill and admiring the castles, we had encountered our fair share of glorious sunshine. On our return to the lower levels, it was delightful to discover our way back went through this beautifully laid out park. It was full, to our eyes, of exotic trees and shrubs and vibrant coloured flowers.

This pool, with its constantly moving middle, gave an illusion of stillness. A perfect place to stop, contemplate, reflect and renew our energy. Eventually, the little footbridge over the escaping streamlet encouraged us to explore further.

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